Thursday, February 2

Freshman survival guide: Five pieces of advice from LSU upperclassmen | Entertainment

Being a freshman at one of the oldest, most prestigious universities in the nation can be frightening at first. Adjusting to college life is a process and can take time, but with the help of your fellow upperclassmen, adapting can be easier than ever.

Everyone knows the simple advice, such as go to class and take notes, but your freshman year is for you to really put yourselves out there and make the best of it. Now is your chance to set the tone for the next couple of years. Here’s what your fellow upperclassmen at Louisiana State University have to say. 

1. Network and make connections

“Get involved in clubs that are a part of your major, as well as attending events and being social. Not only is it fun, but it is free,” said Giselle Finley, an apparel design junior.

Networking and making connections are important while in college. Now is your chance to gather information and meet new people who have the same interests as you. It is also an excellent time to surround yourself with new perspectives and ideas that can help you explore yourself and your interests.

This can open doors and provide opportunities and help you feel more connected on campus. It might be challenging to get an internship your freshman year, but networking now can help make the process easier when finding one down the road. 

2. It is OK to not know your major

Many freshmen’s favorite thing to do is tell everyone their major. It’s often one of the first questions a new college student is asked. While some people know exactly what they want to do, others may not be so sure.

At least 80% of college students change their major throughout their college education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

It’s OK to not know exactly what subject you want to focus on just yet. Your freshman year is for you to explore your likes and dislikes by using your resources and getting to know the people around you.

Don’t limit yourself behind your major and miss the chance to explore your passions. Electives are an important part of a college curriculum and may even turn into part of your degree down the road. While a major may be the No. 1 thing on your mind right now, minors are a great way to explore new interests or expand on old hobbies. LSU offers 330 programs for majors and 115 minors, from ceramics to sugar engineering.

3. Do not procrastinate 

In college, you are going to have a lot on your plate with classes, clubs and friends. The best strategy to avoid stress and feeling cluttered is to work on your time management skills. Camryn Marshall, an apparel design junior, recommends staying on top of your work.

“Do not procrastinate because then it’ll be stressful afterward,” Marshall said. “Have good communication with your professors and get your assignments done days before they’re due.”

Upperclassmen, like Marshall, have found that getting an early start on assignments allows more time to go back and make corrections that result in a better grade. 

4.     Put your mental health first 

Mental health helps individuals determine how to handle stress, relate to others and make healthy choices. Jaylin Darensbourg, a junior studying film and television, encourages freshmen to pay attention to their wellbeing.  

“Stay on your school work, and put your mental health first,” Darensbourg said. “Take your time on your assignments, and when you’re feeling overwhelmed, just take a step back and breathe.”

It is easy to get caught up with loads of schoolwork that can cause your mental health to decline. As simple as it sounds, take a breather, and take it one step at a time. The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds estimates 73% of students experience some sort of mental health crisis during college. Though it may seem like it at times, you are not alone.

Mental health tips include getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water, exercising and participating in activities that interest you. LSU offers various resources for mental health, like ThePhone, a 24-hour crisis counseling and support line students can call or text at 225-924-5781. The LSU Mental Health Service also offers free online anonymous self-assessments that can direct students to individualized resources. The Mental Health Service is located on the second floor of the LSU Student Health Center and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday.  

The Student Health Center informs students on what services are avaliable Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, on 16 Infirmary Lane at LSU’s campus.

5. Learn the material, don’t just study it

Do yourself a favor and learn your class material. Only memorizing it will hurt you in the long run. Kinesiology senior Alandria Garrett warns freshmen of cumulative assignments.

“Many professors will use past lesson materials in other assignments later in the course,” Garrett said. “Learning it will allow you to be prepared for any and everything your teacher throws your way.”

Anyone can just “get the grade,” but learning and applying is the difference between passing and succeeding. The skills you learn from your courses your freshman year are skills you will use throughout college and beyond. When it comes down to getting a job, career professionals are looking for what you can bring to the table, not just what you can memorize.


Helpful documents are offered at the center Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, in B31 Coates Hall Center for Academic Success at LSU.

Find a study method that helps you maximize learning, whether that’s using flashcards, writing notes, asking questions or going to study groups. The LSU Center for Academic Success provides a Semester Toolkit with tips and tricks to help students stay organized, engage in classes and get the most out of studying.

Good luck this year and Geaux Tigers!  

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